Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Businesses risk fines for breaching new consumer law reforms

16 June 2014

Businesses risk hefty fines for breaching new consumer law reforms

Companies that don’t comply with new consumer law reform changes risk substantially increased fines and penalties for any breach. The changes, which come into effect today (June 17), will impact virtually all businesses dealing with consumers.

The updated legislation affects the Fair Trading Act 1986 and Consumer Guarantees Act 1993 and will be followed by further changes in March next year.

Richard Smith, a commercial law partner with Duncan Cotterill, says the changes relate to claims that companies make about goods and services, including online sales, and extend to facets such as delivery time post sale or auction. Plain English information on extended warranties is also required.

Backing up claims about goods and services
“Companies need to be able to back up claims that they make about their goods and services. Generally speaking, that means businesses must have reasonable grounds for believing every claim made about their products or services is true. Even if it later turns out that a claim made is true, a breach of the Fair Trading Act still occurs if proof is not obtained before the claim is made.”

Smith says the focus is on the steps taken to substantiate claims but there is no precise test. There is an exception for claims that “a reasonable person would not expect to be substantiated,” which is intended to cover those expressions of opinion that are so obviously exaggerated or overstated that they are unlikely to mislead anyone.

“To ensure on-going compliance, businesses should be reviewing and updating their approach to marketing, and making sure there is a step in the process for checking reasonable grounds are held for any claims being made.

“We suggest:
• Don’t make any claims about your product or service unless you have reasonable grounds for believing them to be true.
• Seek to rely on facts, figures and credible sources of information to back up representations – not guesses and opinion.
• Keep documentation recording the sources you use to back up your claims and of any representations made to customers.”

More changes to come
Smith says that further changes which will come into effect in mid March 2015 relate to any ‘unfair’ wording in consumer contracts. Terms in contracts deemed to be unfair will not be enforceable by businesses

“In the lead up, businesses should review all their standard form consumer contracts to identify any provisions that could potentially be considered unfair. This review could result in substantial changes needing to be made to existing forms of contract and businesses standard terms and conditions.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Cosmetics & Pollution: Proposal To Ban Microbeads

Cosmetic products containing microbeads will be banned under a proposal announced by the Minister for the Environment today. Marine scientists have been advocating for a ban on the microplastics, which have been found to quickly enter waterways and harm marine life. More>>

ALSO:

NIWA: 2016 New Zealand’s Warmest Year On Record

Annual temperatures were above average (0.51°C to 1.20°C above the annual average) throughout the country, with very few locations observing near average temperatures (within 0.5°C of the annual average) or lower. The year 2016 was the warmest on record for New Zealand, based on NIWA’s seven-station series which begins in 1909. More>>

ALSO:

Farewell 2016: NZ Economy Flies Through 2016's Political Curveballs

Dec. 23 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy batted away some curly political curveballs of 2016 to end the year on a high note, with its twin planks of a booming construction sector and rampant tourism soon to be joined by a resurgent dairy industry. More>>

ALSO:


NZ Economy: More Growth Than Expected In 3rd Qtr

Dec. 22 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand's economy grew at a faster pace than expected in the September quarter as a booming construction sector continued to underpin activity, spilling over into related building services, and was bolstered by tourism and transport ... More>>

  • NZ Govt - Solid growth for NZ despite fragile world economy
  • NZ Council of Trade Unions - Government needs to ensure economy raises living standards
  • KiwiRail Goes Deisel: Cans electric trains on partially electrified North Island trunkline

    Dec. 21 (BusinessDesk) – KiwiRail, the state-owned rail and freight operator, said a small fleet of electric trains on New Zealand’s North Island would be phased out over the next two years and replaced with diesel locomotives. More>>

  • KiwiRail - KiwiRail announces fleet decision on North Island line
  • Greens - Ditching electric trains massive step backwards
  • Labour - Bill English turns ‘Think Big’ into ‘Think Backwards’
  • First Union - Train drivers condemn KiwiRail’s return to “dirty diesel”
  • NZ First - KiwiRail Going Backwards for Xmas
  • NIWA: The Year's Top Science Findings

    Since 1972 NIWA has operated a Clean Air Monitoring Station at Baring Head, near Wellington... In June, Baring Head’s carbon dioxide readings officially passed 400 parts per million (ppm), a level last reached more than three million years ago. More>>

    ALSO:

    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Business
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news